The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is the principal governing civic body of Mumbai has several schools which are run free of cost to cater to the under privileged section of the city. Now these Schools are facing the possibility of elimination from the education system.
Formerly known as Bombay Municipal Corporation, the BMC has failed to keep students from dropping out of their schools at an alarming speed. As a result, it has been predicted that BMC schools may no longer exist by the year 2030.
According to Praja Foundations Report, the budgetary provisions for the Education Department have been increased by 36 per cent, and yet, BMC Schools continue to face high dropout rates over the past few years. There could be many reasons- Access to school, lack of teachers and merging of classes etc. as pointed out by Shyam Sonar, national executive member of All India Forum for Right to Education. With private schools and their high standards of education, the question remains. Where do the BMC schools really stand?
Answer: Not far behind.
BMC has leaned on cosmetic changes to school infrastructure to change the fate of these civic schools. To counter the high drop-out rates of the schools, the school buildings were renovated to give them a more modern feel. As parents and activists were not sure how this would really help, the BMC administrators pointed out that it was imperative to work on the student’s environment first as it is the root cause of the dropout.
Besides providing sanitary vending machines in schools for girls studying in Classes 6 to 10th, they’ve also added provisions of disposing of them hygienically without blocking up the toilets or spreading diseases.
The quality of education has also been taken under consideration as the BMC allocated Rs. 2,569 crore for school education. Special teachers have been hired for Sports, Arts and Music. A recently renovated BMC School in Worli Naka has outdone themselves at inter-school competitions, which means these efforts have started to show results.
The BMC administrators have also made procurements to carry out monthly inspections on school electronic devices and if the computers are up to date and installed.
Initially, 7 music academies were introduced in 2018, which were very well received by the citizens. As a result, the BMC is also planning to open 17 more music academies in civic school across the city. Every ward will have its own music academy!
Over the years, BMC schools have had to raise the benchmark in order to keep their institutions afloat. The challenges have been overwhelming with the high end private schools preening their feathers out in the open for the world to see. But what takes real effort? Transforming something unusable into a functioning entity takes time. Only time will tell if all the hard work by the BMC will pay off.